POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 25 When he’s not in his police uniform, Jamie Dearing is obsessing about youth football. The Bridgewater resident is on the cusp of achieving his latest obsession, assembling the South Shore’s first ever high school football team. “It just consumes me,” said Dearing, an officer with Bridgewater Police. “It’s all I do on my days off. I work four-on, four-off so I have four full days to put into this becoming a success and that’s all I do, going to schools, organizing fundraisers, recruiting, ordering equipment. I’m not complaining because I love it.” Over the course of five months, Dearing’s been able to get 27 South Shore teenagers, including his sons, to commit to the team that will play Division 2 football starting in September. For Dearing, a graduate of Cole Harbour District High’s football program, it’s been a long time coming. Year after year he’s harnessed plenty of talent coaching with the region’s youth football program, South Shore Seahawks, which offers competitive leagues and skills development programs for kids age 7 to 15. But because there’s no local high school team, he’s watched plenty of that talent wasted. A few graduates make the move to a Halifax-area high school program but the majority simply stop playing football. “We have a lot of talented kids down here that love to play football,” said Dearing. “Both my boys play. Half the people we’ve got signed up are ex-Seahawks players. That’s the whole point, that you have all these kids that played Seahawk football at atom, peewee, bantam and had nothing else to do. Now that we’ve started this you’ll see them coming back to it and signing up.” The teamwill represent Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater and compete against teams from the Annapolis Valley, Halifax and beyond. Dearing and another Seahawks coach, Dave Patton, approached school staff last January and were given the go-ahead, with timelines to meet. That’s when Dearing started pounding the pavement visiting local schools in an effort to recruit players. The team is currently shy three players for a full roster but Dearing figures that will come in the weeks ahead. Getting this far is the result of some luck and good timing. With the merger of Park View and Bridgewater High School, the task of fielding a high school team is made easier. Logan Sangster is a recent graduate of the Seahawks program and will suit up as a free safety on the new high school team. The 15year-old is excited about extending his young career and has hopes of earning a football scholarship. But the Bridgewater resident knows Dearing, a hulking figure, has a no-nonsense approach to coaching and demands discipline from his players. “I’m kind of scared of him,” said Sangster with a laugh. “Footballs’ been great for me and I’ve made so many good friends playing the game. I’m just really excited that I can keep playing.” The team is aiming to raise $30,000 in the next couple of years, which will provide necessary equipment for teammembers. Players will only be expected to purchase cleats, a mouth guard and a water bottle. So far, players have raised about $15,000 hosting barbecues, car washes and bottle drives. They’ve also managed a successful T-shirt campaign, convincing 10 local businesses to pay to have to have their logos displayed on team T-shirts. “The Seahawks are lending us some helmets and shoulder pads, which really helps out our budget. We’re fundraising for pants, jerseys, for refs, footballs, all the equipment that we need. Eventually, over the next couple of years, we’ll have to pay for our helmets and shoulder pads.” Dearing’s passion for football has never waned. He insists it’s a sport that personifies teamwork and inclusiveness like no other. “It’s a sport that embraces everyone, big and small, athletic and notso-athletic. There’s a position for everyone on a football team.” “If you’re big and you can’t run, well, you can run for 10 seconds straight ahead or you can block someone and allow your quarterback to throw the ball. All the players on the field have to work together to make that one play work. It’s awesome, just a great sport.” By Andrew Rankin As originally published, The Chronicle Herald, May 23, 2018 Dearing delivers high school team UPDATE! 2018 marked the first year for the Park View Tackle Football Team. It took a lot of work on behalf of the coaches, players, parents and many other supporters.We had an amazing first year, albeit with a few growing pains, and the players worked hard to the first season with three win and five losses. Jamie Dearing is on the far right. PANS in the community Bridgewater Police Service